FILE PHOTO: Aug 3, 2019; Canton, OH, USA; Curley Culp arrives during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
November 27, 2021
Pro Football Hall of Famer Curley Culp died Saturday after a battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was 75.
Culp’s death was announced on his Twitter feed by his wife, Collette Bloom Culp.
“On behalf of our family and with a broken heart, I announce the passing of my husband, Curley Culp early this morning. We respectfully ask for privacy at this time,” she tweeted.
Curley Culp announced on Nov. 16 that he was battling pancreatic cancer.
Culp was a six-time Pro Bowl selection who anchored the Houston Oilers’ defensive line under Bum Phillips in the 1970s. He has been credited with 68.5 career sacks, though sacks didn’t become an official stat until 1982 after Culp’s playing days were over.
Culp played six-plus seasons (1968-74) at defensive tackle with the Kansas City Chiefs before being traded during the 1974 season to the Oilers, who had installed a 3-4 defensive front. Culp became a big-time star at nose tackle in the alignment and earned All-Pro honors in 1975 when he racked up 11.5 sacks in his first full season with Houston.
Culp was a Pro Bowl selection in four straight seasons while playing six-plus campaigns with the Oilers before being released during the 1980 season. He also played parts of two seasons with the Detroit Lions, finishing his career in 1981.
Overall, Culp played in 179 games (156 starts). The Oilers moved to Tennessee in 1997 and starting going by Titans two years later.
Culp won a Super Bowl title with the Chiefs, who defeated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV in January 1970 at New Orleans. It was the fourth and final Super Bowl that pitted AFL vs. NFL. Culp is one of 12 Hall of Famers to have played in that game, seven for the Chiefs.
Culp was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2013.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Curley Culp,” Hall of Fame president Jim Porter said in a statement. “He was a wonderful man of great integrity who respected the game of football and how it applied to everyday life. Curley’s humility and grace were always apparent. He loved the Hall of Fame — always proudly wearing his Gold Jacket as he visited Canton many times following his election in 2013.”
Culp was a second-round draft pick of the Denver Broncos in 1968 but was traded to Kansas City during training camp.
Culp is a native of Yuma, Ariz., and played college football at Arizona State. He also was NCAA wrestling heavyweight champion in 1967.
(Field Level Media)